A Refreshing Conversation With An Older Gentleman Who Takes Life In Stride

“Sometimes you’re the windshield, Sometimes you’re the bug…” 

I was listening to an older acquaintance chuckle as he told me about a scam he’d gotten caught up in.  He understood what had happened and how it’d happened.

After some research and many phone calls, he’d extracted himself from the scam and was a few hundred dollars poorer because of it.

He told me that in retrospect he realized that the whole mess was less about him being stupid, than about the scam being slick and sophisticated, taking advantage of his trusting nature + his unfamiliarity with certain details.

No surprise there, eh?

But what struck me about this conversation, that was more like a monologue, was that this older gentleman telling me this story wasn’t bitter about what had happened.  There was not one ounce of “I’m a victim” or “I blame _____” going on with this guy.

Instead, he was telling his story as a cautionary tale.  All he needed was for someone to listen and understand his predicament– and for someone to tell him that he “done good” solving the problem himself.

All of which got me thinking…

When was the last time you were part of a conversation like this one?  SERIOUSLY, when did you last listen to someone who had been taken advantage of– and who wasn’t whining and emoting about the unfairness of it all?

Someone who was behaving like an adult who grasped the fact that in the rhythm of life not everything works out as planned– and that’s ok, too, because if you’re smart, you learn from it and move on.

Like this older gentleman did, in his quiet self-deprecating way.

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Looking for the crumb of truth in the cookie of life.

45 thoughts on “A Refreshing Conversation With An Older Gentleman Who Takes Life In Stride”

  1. How true.

    Not many people exhibiting Grace these days. I wonder about this often. I wonder if it is because there are so few boundaries now, thanks to the easy reach offered by electronic access. It’s easy to gripe to huge corporations, government, even foreign entities when things go awry. We’ve become a world of whiners, knowing that if we make a fuss, the cost of our public outcry can lead to severe consequences for businesses and celebrities. Monetizing Hate is an easy cottage industry, even when the only profit is brief fame.

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    1. nance, this older gentleman, who I’d guess was about 45’s age, was the epitome of grace. Smiling at himself for getting caught up in something he had no business being in.

      I liked how positive he was about what had happened to him– and thought that it was worth noting and discussing here.

      You’re spot on with your explanation of how electronic access has turned us into a culture of whiners: pout, fuss, gripe… be famous. I understand it, but I don’t like it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love that saying..”sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug. I’ll have to remember that. It sounds like this gentleman is a smart guy, just taken by someone who really could care less about others. We learn something all the time, no matter how old we are. He was probably glad to be sharing this with someone who listened.

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    1. Beth, I agree that this gentleman needed someone to listen to his experience. I was, of course, that person [as I always am].

      I think if you’re inclined to learn from your experiences, then you will– as this man demonstrated. But some people refuse to learn, preferring to complain and accuse. That’s what struck me about this man– he had a solution, not a problem. Would that more people were like him.

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  3. UH, almost never? Years ago, maybe?
    People almost never want to admit they’ve made a mistake!
    Good share — reminding us our grace and humility endear us to others and make us better teachers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. joey, that was my exact response to this older gentleman’s story. I hadn’t heard anyone in years quietly take responsibility for a mistake they’d made. He was so matter-of-fact about something that was a big old expensive mess.

      I remember when his behavior was the societal norm, not an exception… that gave me pause. I miss that kind of humility.

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      1. Me too.
        I dunno when it turned into this. We all make mistakes, and therefore, we all should accept blame when due.
        I’ll continue teaching my children to learn from mistakes and to accept responsibility for their own. Maybe humility will trend again later.

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        1. I like that you’re teaching your kids about humility. I have hope that the concept of taking responsibility will become the norm again, eventually. And in the meantime, I guess we focus on the good people who remind us to do so.

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  4. Thanks for sharing this. It is nice to know there are still some people out there who take responsibility for their own actions. It is sad that there are people out there who continue to try to take advantage of others in that way.

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    1. Janet, I agree with what you said and how you said it. What I found most interesting about this conversation is that I started thinking to myself how odd it was that I hadn’t had this kind of conversation in ages. And then I got thinking to myself how sad it is that it was odd that I was having this realization. ☹️

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  5. I wonder of this lack of taking responsibility for what happens to us is, at least in part, a result of the kind of parenting that seems to be so prevalent these days – the placing of kids on the throne, masters of their universe. We all know master of universes have peons to accept responsibility for what goes wrong.

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    1. Carol, interesting observation. You’re right about how some parents now put their kids on thrones, teaching the child that he or she is royalty. And like you said, royalty has peons. Fascinating idea here. I think that you’re onto something that explains this shift away from taking responsibility.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I enjoy being around people who accept responsibility for the choices they make and the outcomes resulting from those choices ~> win or lose.

    Not a fan of people who bump their knee and then proceed to blame the chair for getting in their way.

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    1. nancy, I like your knee bump metaphor. I was surprised that I was surprised by this conversation with this older gentleman. I hadn’t realized how often I hear people blaming other people and systems for their probs. To hear someone not get upset was refreshing– and reminded me that it is not the norm any more.

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  7. It’s been ages since I met someone (myself included) who didn’t pull that “I’m A VICTIM” card when life isn’t going the way we want. I don’t know when that happened exactly, it was subtle and crept up over decades. In the next couple of weeks a dilemma/issue that I’ve been fighting for almost four years now will (hopefully) be resolved. But I remember clearly the first time I whined to a relative about it. And they said something that really pissed me off because it was true and it wasn’t what I wanted to hear…they said “So WHAT? Suck it up. Do you think the villain cares a fig about what YOU want? No. And you don’t care a fig about what they want either. So just stop whining about it!” We’ve somehow become a nation of entitled people and woe unto anyone who steps on our ‘rights’..

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    1. Embeecee, I was surprised by how this older gentleman explained himself, and then I was surprised when I realized that it’d been ages since someone had so gracefully taken responsibility for their actions. It’s easy to forget that the victim card wasn’t always the way it was in America. Your relative may have done you favor by telling you what he [she?] did– if only in that it made you more aware of how entitled we all seem to feel that we are. I hope that your troubles resolve themselves soon so that you can move on from the situation.

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  8. Just this morning! What are the odds, right? At my gym a much older woman got scammed. She knew (after the fact) how it happened. She wasn’t angry but went directly into problem solving on what she could do to extract herself. There was no self pity or even stupid me. If anything she was annoyed that she hadn’t gone with her gut that was telling her something was odd. She didn’t expect anyone else to “fix it” for her. I was in awe.

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    1. Kate, that’s exactly how this older man explained and reacted to what had happened to him. I wasn’t expecting the conversation to go the way it did, but I was so proud of this man. Like you said: “I was in awe.”

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  9. Hi, Ally – I love the experiences that you and Kate shared about people owning up to what happened to them and not playing the role of victim.
    😀 I did have to read twice about “45ish” being an “older gentleman”. I’m doomed!:D

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Donna, everyone knows that women are 10 years younger than their chronological age, while men are 10 years older than their chronological age, so you’re doing great. No need to worry. 😊

      I don’t know why it is that some people think of themselves/want to be perceived as victims. To me, it seems crazy, but I hadn’t thought of that until I talked with this man who was grace and humility wrapped up in one pleasant package. I’ll think of him as a good role model for the rest of my life.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. My reaction was the same as Donna’s … 45’ish is an older gentleman? Uh-oh.
    People are willing to admit they made a mistake, but then in the next breath, someone else is always to blame. Drives me crazy.
    Kudos to this guy. He didn’t deserve to be scammed.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Joanne, well 45 is older… as for being a gentleman, I’d say not so much! But I take your point.

      I’m with you about people driving me crazy by saying how they made a mistake, then they go off on how they were victims of it all. But this man, no such nonsense with him. That’s why I liked him so much.

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  11. By “45” you meant the current White House occupant, right? I’m pretty sure most people (certainly anyone over 35) wouldn’t think of a man age 45 as “an older gentleman.”

    Anyway, I have to agree with you about the prevalence of blame in our society. Scammers are scum, but we all need to actively protect ourselves since they are only going to get more sophisticated.

    Taking responsibility for ourselves and our actions will benefit us in many areas of our lives.

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    1. Janis, I only refer to the current occupant of the White House obliquely. Never use his full name with the word “President” before it, so yes to your question. We all resist in our own ways! 😉

      You’re so right about the prevalence of blame in our society. I don’t remember when this shift took place, but I didn’t grow up like this. It was only when this man started talking, and I thought the conversation was going to go in the blame direction but it didn’t, that I fully realized that this man’s response to his troubles was unusual.

      He’ll forever be a point of light in my life, when I had an epiphany about how I wanted to make sure to live my life, too.

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  12. It is rare to hear people be honest and say, “I effed up!” I was stupid, naïve, whatever. I am perfectly open about my mistakes, and try to learn from them. How can they, who never admit to them in the first place?

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    1. Well, Margaret, you’ve hit the crux of the matter. If you deny you made a mistake, then you don’t have to learn from it. And learning means you change, something that many people avoid like it is poison. ‘Ya know?

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  13. Now see… I probably wouldn’t have been as calm and understanding as your 45ish older gentleman was had that happened to me…… but I would’ve probably turned the experience into a 28-part blog post full of self-depreciating humor and international intrigue.

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    1. evilsquirrel13, I agree that you could make anything that happens to you into a multi-part blog series that would be funny and universal in it’s appeal. That’s why we all like you… 🙂

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  14. That’s true and he probably leads a much happier life than anyone who’d rather complain. I’ll have to try to remember this the next time I feel like complaining. 🙂

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    1. Sheila, I thought the same thing about this older man. He seemed like a happy person, and that’s who I want to be, so I’ll keep his example in mind when things don’t go my way. Or at least try to do so.

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  15. Sadly it seems that owning our mistakes and embracing the lessons we can learn from them is turning into a lost skill. Whether it’s because of misplaced pride, ego, vanity, being insecure, or just that blaming someone/something else is easier, depends on the individual I guess.
    I’d like to think it gets easier as we get older because generally we become more self-confident and less concerned about what others think.
    Admitting when we screw up is not always easy but it is essential to personal growth.

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    1. Norm, I agree with all that you said here. I find it easy to say “oops, bad on me” but I realize that for some people it’s almost impossible to admit making a mistake– so it must be someone else’s fault. I’m not so sure that personal growth is the goal of many people, hence the acceptance of what I call victimization talk.

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    1. Tara, I like Mary, too. And when I heard this older gentleman talking, her song is what floated into my consciousness. ‘Twas a nice song to think about, truth be known.

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  16. Love your post and the discussion Ally. I’ve been curious for a while why this “victim” stance seems so increasingly prevalent. Kudos to your gentleman acquaintance for some much-needed modeling of responsibility, ownership, and self-compassion.

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    1. Deborah, I, too, wonder about why it is that for so many people being a victim is now the default response to difficulties. When did this shift take place? Are we all just emotionally walking wounded now? No answer, but apparently this older gentleman didn’t get the memo telling him to play the victim card. And I gotta love him for it.

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  17. I love this post. Refreshing to hear that he was not bitter or blaming but took it as an occasion to learn. All need to read this story!!

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    1. LoP. talking with this man was an unexpected reminder that it’s ok to admit that you got taken– and then do something about fixing the situation. No need to take it personally. He was inspiring, in his own quiet way.

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  18. He sounds like such a lovely person.
    Is this “victim” society the result of too many do-overs for kids or being too quick to offer solutions and “help” rather than letting someone muddle and struggle to solve it themselves? I don’t know but I miss that quiet resolute action to put things right.
    “Turn the glass back over right side up and stop staring at the milk dripping away” – has to be taught and learned perhaps
    Enjoyed the tale

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    1. philmouse, the comments on this post have been fascinating because there are so many possible reasons for why our society has normalized what I refer to as victim talk. You might be onto the source of it all. In my childhood I don’t remember much in the way of do-overs when it came to my education. Tenacity and the willingness to fail are, like you said, experiences that kids today might not be having. I dunno, but I do know that this older gentleman was a delight to talk with considering the world in which we live.

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